Bottomless Wallet

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PC: Juliandra Durkin

It’s two forty-five AM here in Madrid and though my eyes are burning a little in front of my laptop, and I have too much to do tomorrow to be tired, I have to admit I did not want to stop with my latest project and decided to post right away…. Even though I probably should wait because I need to submit this work in a month for my class portfolio.

“Bottomless Wallet” is a photo story of the consumerist culture we live in; inspired by the incessant shopping I’ve observed in Madrid. A two part photo series, I was able to capture part one today in the city with Bhavna who made modeling and styling the over the top consumerist appeal look easy.

These are just a few of the photos of part one, Bhavna taking in her phone and Starbucks, not a care in the world for anyone else. She did an amazing job and I am super excited for the direction of this project!

Even to the small things like a Christmas themed Starbucks cups, which is a reminder that we are in a ‘season of giving,’ we as a society have a tendency to ignore and look past people around us.

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PC: Juliandra Durkin

This season, give a little extra to people in need around you, buy someone else a coffee, put down your phones, look past (or better yet learn from) political differences for a second, don’t obsess about your hair or clothes so much, and find joy in the people around you more than the “stuff”– clothes, cars, football games, likes on social media, or whatever else you find yourself consumed with… More to come for Bottomless Wallet, and thank you again to Bhavna who I got to work with today!

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PC: Juliandra Durkin

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PC: Juliandra Durkin.

PS. I have got to learn how to watermark.

PPS. I don’t think that really matters as I’ll be uploading to Unsplash and all of those photos are free anyway!

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Baby Steps in a Masters Program

Deep down, and not so deep down, I’m super nerdy. From Kindergarten when I first learned to write, spelling out words and forming sentences like “The cat played with the ball” I’ve loved school. I loved picking up a pencil, knowing I was doing something important that my parents and teachers would be proud of me for. That I was learning to be a part of society in a timeless way. I remember crying over things like multiplication tables in 5th grade and Chemistry in 10th grade, but even those subjects that didn’t come naturally, I was always proud of myself after a test that I somehow passed.

Though my career plans don’t require furthered education—to be honest they don’t require any education save for a vision that you have to convince others is great to get on board with for funding and movie making—I knew upon graduating college I wanted to go back to school “someday” after working a few years in the industry.

That “someday” is now and though I initially wanted to get my MBA, I found myself applying to a marketing program at a business school in Spain for a masters in Digital and Visual Media. A mix of creative, hands-on work and more theory-based classes such as Strategic Thinking and Media Ethics, this program offers a lot in terms of education, a sabbatical year abroad, and refreshment from intensive production work.

Here are a few items I’ve created for my Graphic Design class. Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator— as I work through assignments, I’m pretty proud of what I’m creating on these new (to me) software programs!

If I don’t share my work, it’ll just get digitally dusty sitting in some file somewhere, and even if what I’m posting seems basic to true experts, like a kindergartner learning to write “cat” I’m learning digital content creation in a new way and am excited about the baby steps I’m taking in my masters program.

Business Card Mock Up

Song - Tale as Old as Time - Project

Coachella Poster Design

Where’s the Corkscrew — I’m Thirsty

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PC: Justin Aikin

The last post I wrote was called “Consistency” dated July of 2017. Fifteen months ago. Wow. I really lost touch with my writing this last year, but I’m baaaack!

And since I’m back I’ll fill you in on a few things. First, I’m living in Madrid, Spain for the next year studying for a Masters in Digital and Visual Media. I worked in video production for the last 3 years, but I decided to chase some dreams and go get a Master’s, while learning marketing for business with a media twist. And since I’m in Spain, I’d like to debut my first time writing in over a year on a pretty important subject here in Spain… drinking.

Drinking here is kind of like a hobby, but a necessary hobby. Like, for example, triathlons for me are a hobby. I’m not a professional, but no matter how popular or not the race is, I can’t live without training for my next Tri. It’s a hobby where I push myself on the daily to train, in and out of season. I need long rides on my bike, timed swims in the pool, and runs where the only thing that matters is my increased mileage. A necessary hobby.

Which brings me back to wine in Spain. Wine, my friends, is a deep rich drink that dates back 1000’s of years to Bible times. Which means, it’s not going anywhere. It’s a necessary hobby for people in Spain and is a unifier of people around the entire planet.

First, it physically brings people together. The following conversation I’ve had with friends around the globe since I first started drinking.

“Hey! We said we were going to hangout tonight, are you still down?”

“Yeah! What do you want to do?”

“Well it’s snowing out…” Or, “It’s raining out…” Or, “I’m trying to save some money and don’t really want to eat at a restaurant…” Or, “I have to be up early tomorrow for work…”

You know the only proper response to these statements is, “Oh, well why don’t we just grab a drink, better yet, just come to my place, I have a bottle of wine we can open!”

Wine is good, but I didn’t know it till I started drinking it at age 20 when I studied abroad in Spain the first wine, I mean time. And wine in Spain is so easy to get addicted to. Doesn’t matter how cheap the bottle is, all alcohol is cheap in Spain, but it is always sweet, rich, and cheap. Did I say that already?

Second, drinking brings people together physically, but it also turns us into story tellers.

“You have to try my drink!”

“Oh, that’s so good! What’s in it?”

“Well this one time I was staying at a hostel in Portugal and the hostel worker made Sangria for us that had muddled mint at the bottom. Saw the same thing on the menu here and wondered if it would be the same. The owner at the hostel let me help him make it, such fun memories.”

“What! When did you go to Portugal? Sounds like so much fun!”

All of a sudden, I’m telling a story just because of a silly, over priced drink that reminded me of a time I traveled, and wanted to share said drink with my friend. Honestly, for better or for worse, I owe my good friendships to nights out, or in, opening up to each other talking about fun, difficult, or somber life situations around a bottle or glass.

Third, and maybe the least obvious and the most “uh-oh, is she okay?” is that drinking solo is kind of the best way to drink. Rainy night in with a glass of wine, or escaping to the mountains with a view beer in hand, or day drinking while cleaning… I don’t have to be out and about or with surrounded by friends to enjoy life. Sometimes a casual drink alone allows the mind to wander and be inspired in a new way.

And that is what prompted this blog post. All because of a glass of wine by myself in my little apartment in Spain and I started thinking, and my thoughts grew, and I decided to pull out my laptop and write again. Like Triathlons, and my interest in the influence of wine on culture and relationships, writing is a necessary hobby in my life and something I’ve put off for too long claiming to not have time or anything interesting to say. Which is just not true.

SO, pour yourself a drink, and come hangout with me through my blog as I process all that Spain has to offer this year second time around!

Consistency

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PC: Marion Michele

Consistency.

I’ve been meaning to write about this theme in my life since March, but I’ve been putting it off. Because to write about it is to claim it and to claim it is to live by it, and I haven’t been feeling strong enough to live consistently in most things.

I say I want to lose weight and a week later I’m binge eating on chips and margaritas. I say I want to read a book or two and except for the GRE haven’t picked up a book in months. I say I want to raise money for human trafficking victims and I’m too scared to keep asking the people who said they would donate.

Consistent in my work. Consistent in my friendships. Consistent in my training for triathlon this summer. Consistent with my relationship with God- I feel like I’ve been a roller coaster more than anything… Nothing consistent in my actions or attitude except this nagging thought that I have to get back on track to what is important and STAY TRUE to that course.

So I’m pushing and pulling. Trying to grasp at any semblance of order in my career, health, and attitude with changes in relationships, and especially with God.

Consistency is what I noticed brought me from running 11:00 min miles in snowy February, to 9:45 min miles in rainy April, to 8:50 min miles in humid June.

Consistency in prayer is what I know makes my emotional imbalance and fear sober and pure minded again.

Consistency in showing up at work, and doing the best that I can any given day is what I know got me a 3rd promotion in less than 2 years as a Sports Producer.

Consistency is what is getting me through relearning Math for the GRE that I haven’t thought about since 10th grade…

Consistency is key. It is key to success. It is key for getting through each day. It is key for proving I am capable, even when I “don’t feel like it.” And believe me, I don’t most days. But by remaining consistent to show up during the hard times, I know I’m succeeding, even if I don’t see the fruit right away.

I know it works. The reality is, though the process has been slow, I have seen the fruit of remaining consistent to the important things, letting go of that which distracts from my goals.

SO by FINALLY writing this blog post, I am claiming this word publicly to make it a habit and pattern in my actions and ultimately a part of my lifestyle in all areas of my life right now, not just when it is convenient.

Consistency to keep putting one foot in front of the other for this triathlon on days and nights I don’t want to work out, when I say the wrong thing in meetings, or when I want to go out with friends and instead know I should study.

In the end, I think that is what makes the fruit so beautiful. It is not that these goals are easy, or that I’ve done a good job at keeping them a priority- but that I can in action, word, and deed go back to remaining faithful and true to the important things.

The road is long, but I will reach the end by choosing to move forward. Consistently.

“Practically Perfect in Every Way” -Mary Poppins

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PC: Brook Cagle

NOT.

I’ve done some pretty ridiculous things over the years that some might call dumb. Or silly. Or crazy.

One time, when I was leaving Sevilla, Spain to travel on to Tel Aviv, Israel I HAD to get to the Spanish post office to ship a suitcase home to the USA the night before I left Europe. So with about 2 minutes till the post office closed, I ran through the city, brandishing a sword in front of me that I bought in Toledo, Spain, which I also had to ship and had no box for, dragging a 60lb suitcase behind me that didn’t even have wheels. Spaniards thought I was a crazy American, ducking and tripping out of my way as I yelled “!Perdoname!” through crowds with the sword in front, suitcase bumping along in tow praying there was a line at the post office and it would be open late.

Another time, when I lived in Southern California, I pulled off the freeway to the exit on my way home. Waiting for traffic to slow down, so I could merge and join them, I inched forward with my car. As I looked left to make sure it was safe to merge, a man who was homeless, dehydrated, and in need of hospital care stumbled across the intersection and collapsed on my car. A homeless man on my car in the middle of an intersection! I didn’t know what to do.

Another day more recently, I ran bra-less through town trying to find a present for a bridal shower that started in two hours. I didn’t have a bra because it had been about 5 weeks that I had done laundry. So I had to buy a new bra, and a present, and pretend like I didn’t have a hangover as I showed up a flustered mess wearing the previous nights makeup to this shower. Oh yeah, and I arrived an hour late to the party because I got lost on my way. Even though I had GPS and it was in my hometown.

I’ve crossed lines with people and relationships, started things that I can’t finish, and wondered what the heck am I doing with my life most of the time.

And while this has been going on, I’ve smiled and laughed, and even had fun, not realizing the problem till after the fact, only then asking God for help to deal with my heart as I’ve felt guilty to the world around me in my mistakes.

During one such prayer, it occurred to me that at least part of what I’ve been dealing with is why Jesus called the Pharisees “hypocrites” in Mathew 23:27. They were more concerned about their image than their own hearts and souls. And like them, I prayed that God would protect my image and reputation… that was my biggest worry in the moment.

So then I realized not only do I choose sin, let people walk all over me, but also the cherry on top, I’ve been a hypocrite too worried more about my image than anything else! Wow. Praise the Lord I have any friends at all after some of my ups and downs.

But the beauty is, I DO have friends. Some really great ones that sprinkle truth, encouragement, and understanding for the decisions I make. And through it all I’ve been learning about myself– that I’m not as strong as I think I am. That sometimes I’m a hot mess. And that I’ve been putting myself in a box with what I think I want in life.

Beyond that though, I’ve been learning about God– that He is faithful, doing WORK in me to answer some pretty major heart prayers. That He has me right where He wants me at this point in life. Mostly I’ve been learning alllll about His grace and mercy.

You see what is grace and mercy without sin? Grace and mercy mean everything because of sin, not in spite of it.

In years past when I’ve messed up, I’ve wallowed in it, living in guilt like a rat in a sewer afraid to come out to the light of day.

But not this time. I realize now that I live in a sinful world and it is inevitable that I will find myself messing up. And it isn’t tragic to the point of wallowing away like sewer rats. It’s human. I am human as you are, and that is why we need a Deity to come down to the crap that humanity has made the world, to rescue us, and to pull us out. We need a God. And the God who calls me His daughter was and is willing to do just that! With all of His grace and all of His mercy…

How AMAZING that my Best Friend since I was 5 years old when I asked Jesus to come save me, is even better than the friends I call up, text, or grab a drink with to talk about the latest life lessons! With Jesus, I don’t have to explain myself. I get to bring my depressing, crappy issues to His feet- that He immediately, no questions asked, begins to Build, Restore, Teach, Edify, Encourage, and the Laugh with me about.

I’m honored and humbled that He loves me that much. That He shows me my blind spots in real life situations. That this weekend, or last, or the one before that are not where my life ends, but are building blocks to the next season. And His heart is all about restoring me back to Himself for His own glory. I have the faith of a mustard seed to move on- chasing rainbows, dreams, and promises that He’ll fulfill saturated with grace and mercy flowing down.

“After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you” (1 Peter 5:10).

I don’t have all the answers, but that is the whole point in not being perfect. I’m not supposed to have all the answers. God tests us, He lets us choose paths, He lets us make decisions, He opens doors at the right times, and He redeems the messes we make, if we let Him.

Sometimes I spill coffee on myself in the car. Or bite my nails when I’m nervous. Or buy new bras because all of my current ones are dirty. And even as a 25 year old grown woman, I broke a vase of my mom’s and tried to hide it. But I realize when I let go of trying to be perfect, He can finally work and reveal to me the truth of who I really am– a forgiven daughter of the King. The bottom line is: I’m not perfect and I’m done trying to live some image of myself who tries to be. So in choosing not to be perfect by my standards, I am FINALLY allowing Him to move in me with all of His.

“I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me” (Philippians 3:12).